The country is currently riding a cultural high with movies, TV dramas and K-pop music all finding wider international audiences. Netflix has made a mark as a platform for Korean shows and is increasingly finding subscriber and critical success within the country.
The platform has taken advantage of the repeatedly disrupted theatrical releasing calendar to pick up “Space Sweepers,” one of Korea’s first big-budget space adventure movies. Directed by Jo Sung-hee and starring Song Joong-ki, Kim Tae-ri, Jin Sun-kyu and Yoo Hai-jin, it had been set to release in theaters on Sept. 23. But the release was postponed by coronavirus precautions. Netflix will now make it available from the first quarter of 2021.
“The line between traditional distribution methods and digital distribution is disappearing and we cannot keep delaying the release as we need to set grounds for expansion of our IP,” Yeo Jeong-hun, CEO of distributor Merry Christmas told Korean media last week.
Others are “The Call” which will premiere on Saturday. Directed by Lee Chung-hyun, and starring Park Shin hye and Jun Jong-seo, the film is a mystery thriller about a woman who receives a phone call from 20 years ago; and comedy “What Happened to Mr. Cha?” which will play out from Jan. 1, 2021. It features Cha In-pyo and Cho Dal-hwan in a tale of an out of work actor who may be too well-mannered for his own good.
The new series include: “Sweet Home,” a 10-episode thriller that is a webtoon adaptation from Studio Dragon, co-produced by Studio N, and written by Hong So-ri, Kim Hyung-min and Park So-jeong. An ensemble cast is headed by Song Kang, Lee Jin-wook, Lee Si-young, Lee Do-hyun.
Premiering on Nov. 28, “The Uncanny Counter” is another webtoon adaptation. It features superheroes who, when not hunting down obstinate evil spirits, toil in a noodle shop. The show is directed by You Sun-dong and scripted by Yeoh Gee-na.
Premiering on Dec. 16, “Run On” is a romantic drama about the intermingling of people who have trouble communicating, even while speaking in the same language. It is directed by Lee Jae-hun and written by Park Si-hyeon, with a cast that includes Yim Si-wan, Shin Sae-kyung, Choi Soo-young, and Kang Tae-oh.
“Lovestruck in the City,” which premieres from next month, is a drama series about young urbanites who pursue romance and happiness while struggling to get by in a busy and competitive environment. The director is Park Shin-woo (“It’s Okay to Not Be Okay” and “Don’t Dare to Dream”), working from a screenplay by Jung Hyun-jung (“In Need of Romance” and “Discovery of Love”). The cast includes Ji Chang-wook, and Kim Ji-won.
Netflix previously backed “Parasite” director Bong Joon-ho’s “Okja” and this year picked up other Korean films that saw their releases frustrated or cut short by the impact of the pandemic on theatrical releasing. These include “#Alive” and “A Time To Hunt.”
“This year marked an incredible milestone for Korean filmmakers.. We’re bringing Korean storytelling with the goal to entertain our members around the world,” said Kim Minyoung VP of content (Korea, Southeast Asia, Australia & New Zealand).
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